What kind of wine is rosé?

1 comment Jun 23, 2023by Andrew Lowry

The Ultimate Guide to Pink Wine

rosé wine in a glass

Rosé wine has taken the world by storm, becoming a favorite among wine enthusiasts and casual drinkers alike. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the various methods of making rosé, popular styles, and why this pink drink deserves a place in your wine rack.

What is Rosé Wine?

Rosé is the delightful middle ground between white wine and red wine. It's not just a pretty face – this versatile wine offers a range of flavors and styles that can suit any palate or occasion. Essentially, rosé is made by allowing some contact between grape juice and grape skins, but not enough to produce a full red wine.

How is Rosé Wine Made?

There are three primary methods winemakers (aka vignerons) use to create this pink perfection:

1. Limited Maceration

This is the most common method for making rosé. The winemaker starts the red wine-making process but removes the grape skins after a short period – anywhere from 20 seconds to 24 hours, depending on the desired color intensity. Once the skins are removed, the pink juice continues fermenting alone, resulting in a beautiful rosé with just the right amount of color and flavor extraction.

2. Saignée (The "Bleeding" Method)

Saignée, which means "bleeding" in French, is a more specialized technique. It's used when making fuller-bodied red wines. Some juice is "bled off" from the red wine tank early in the process and fermented separately to create rosé. This method produces rosés that are typically:

  • More expensive
  • Capable of aging for several years
  • Common in regions like Bandol and Tavel in France

3. Blending

This straightforward method involves mixing white and red wines to create rose wine. It's commonly used in Champagne production but isn't allowed in many other wine regions – perhaps because it's considered too easy!

Famous Styles of Rosé

Rosé is produced in every wine-making country, but some regions stand out for their distinctive styles:

Bandol (Provence, France)

Bandol is known for high-quality, serious rosés. By law, these wines must be at least 50% Mourvèdre, with the remainder typically including Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, and Carignan. Bandol rosés are considered the gold standard for Provençal-style rosé.

Tavel (Southern Rhône, France)

Tavel is unique as the only appellation that exclusively produces rosé. These wines are:

  • Made primarily from Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault
  • Deeply colored, almost cherry-like in hue
  • Capable of aging for years
  • Often pricey but worth the splurge

South of France

The South of France is the epicenter of rosé production, including regions like Côtes de Provence and Pays d'Oc. These rosés are typically:

  • Light-bodied
  • Pale pink in color
  • Perfect for summer sipping

It's also worth noting that many celebrity-owned rosé brands, like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's Miraval, come from this region.


Rosé Champagne is the epitome of luxury. Made by either blending or the saignée method, these sparkling rosés often have more body and flavor than regular Champagne. While pricey, they're worth it for special occasions.

Getariako Txakolina (Basque Country, Spain)

This unique rosé offers an unexpected experience:

  • Made from indigenous grapes Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza
  • Lightly sparkling
  • Can have surprising flavors like jalapeño
  • Difficult to pronounce but easy to enjoy

Rose Wine by Grape Variety

Rosé can be made from various red grape varieties, each imparting its own character. Common varieties include Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Tempranillo. The mild flavors of rosé make it widely appealing, but each grape variety adds its unique twist.

The White Zinfandel Renaissance

White Zinfandel deserves a special mention. Popularized by Sutter Home's Bob Trinchero, it was often associated with sweet, cheap boxed wine. However, it's making a comeback with elegant, dry to off-dry versions that can rival the best rosés in quality.

Why Rose Wine Deserves Your Attention

Rosé is more than just a trendy drink. It offers:

  • Versatile food pairing options
  • Perfect for warm weather sipping
  • A range from bone-dry to sweet
  • A wide spectrum of flavors and styles
  • Increasing respect in the wine world

Embracing the Pink Revolution at Harvest Wine Shop

San Diego wine lovers, it's time to step up your rosé game! At Harvest Wine Shop, we're bringing you the best selection of rosés from around the world. From crisp and dry to lusciously fruity, we have a rosé for every palate and occasion.

Don't miss out on the hottest wine trend:

  • Visit our online shop to explore our curated rosé collection
  • Ask our expert staff for personalized recommendations

We ship wine throughout San Diego. Join our wine club and have your favorite rosés delivered right to your doorstep.

Ready to join the Pink Revolution? Visit our online shop today to discover your new favorite rosé. Cheers to pink perfection!